What’s with ‘female-fronted’ bands? And other issues…

Something that I fail to understand is, why in the 21st Century do we still feel the need to classify bands whose lead singer biologically happens to be female? It may seem like a pointless argument to make; but for me the phrase carries the same connotations as ‘plus-size model’; something unexpected and novel that the patriarchy doesn’t seem to know what to do with. Now, obviously I understand that ‘F-F’ is an easy way for journos to describe bands who, to the shock of society have a strong female lead but we have to ask ourselves whether it’s acceptable that music is still treated as a male domain that occasionally a few females are allowed to enter.

In the world of pop-punk this problem is particularly rife. Frontrunning ‘F-F’ band Paramore seem to be the standard against which every singer without a Y chromosome is measured. VersaEmerge, Tonight Alive and hell, even Anavae who aren’t pop-punk at all, get thrown into the female fronted box by the music magazines and compared to Hayley Williams. Nevermind the fact that You Me At Six basically are the male fronted Paramore or that Anavae sound more like 30 Seconds To Mars than the trio from Tennessee. Perhaps the reason that bands with females in the lineup get pitted against each other is due to there being a lesser proportion of women in what is perceived to be a male game? As uber-cool feminist Kate Nash puts it in her track Rap For Rejection ‘but the music magazines are in the magazines for men stands//if you’re trying to tell me that sexism doesn’t exist//if it doesn’t exist then what the f*** is this?’

Some archaic notion still wrongly exists that women will only want to read vapid fashion and beauty advice. It could be that the apparent lack of women in music is due to the way that the industry is slightly exclusive of females. I’ve had plenty of looks myself as I stand in my local newsagents amongst the men reading Kerrang! instore, as if they’re surprised that someone in a skirt knows their Blink182 from their Brand New. Even those arty ‘indie’ publications like Clash are hidden out of females’ reach, making a search for something like Dazed and Confused look like you’re after Fishing Weekly, or a copy of Nuts. It shouldn’t have to be like this.

Back to point number one, nobody draws the parallels between every male frontman and Tom Delonge or Alex Turner so why should women have to suffer a different fate? Why can’t these ‘female fronted’ bands be celebrated for their individuality, instead of being squashed into one ‘unthreatening’ mass?

What do you think?

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